23 Aug

Ghostcrawler brought up the notion of fun 15 times in the most recent edition of the Dev Watercooler series.  In my opinion, this was about 14 times too many.

Let me explain.

There are many different kinds of fun.  There is the kind of fun that you have when you are going down the steep hill of a rollercoaster. Or the kind of fun that you have when you’re in the car with your friends and you’re all loudly singing along to your favorite song on the radio.  Or the sense of fun that comes from trying out an exotic new type of food at a restaurant.

Fun can also be subjective.  Not everyone would find the examples that I mentioned above to be fun.  Personally, I don’t enjoy rollercoasters and I tend to take the safe, predictable route whenever I go to a new restaurant.  I do, however, enjoying singing along with my friends in the car (albeit poorly).

At the same time, not everything in life is meant to be fun.  You don’t decide that you want to have a baby with your partner because it’s going to be fun.  You don’t volunteer to give a speech in front of a room full of people because it will be fun.  You don’t clean the cat’s litter box because it’s fun.

Sometimes you do things because they are necessary or because they are expected of you.  It’s a means to an end, a way to get past an obstacle that you wouldn’t be able to overcome, otherwise.  It could be something that you need to do, in order to get it out of the way, so you can have some real fun later on down the line.  You do it because nobody else can or nobody else will.  Fun has nothing to do with it.

I would have supported the changes to threat and to tanking, had the groundwork for such a change been rooted in theorycrafting or number crunching.  But having Ghostcrawler’s proposal be based primarily on fun and using numerous examples of what constitutes fun to support this seemed wrong to me.  To me, fun should not be that much of a factor in a decision as groundbreaking as this one.

For as far back as I can remember, everything in the game came with some amount of work involved.  It didn’t matter if you were circling the globe to get the Explorer achievement, or you were grinding Netherwing rep to get your drake, or even fishing.  You were working to some degree to get ahead, to get something that you wanted, and fun most likely didn’t factor too highly into that equation.  Fun may have been an inevitable byproduct of those situations, but you most likely didn’t go into them thinking “I’m going to do a dozen laps around Nagrand to uncover every zone on the map because it’s fun,” or “I’m going to farm up enough fish for a month’s worth of fish feasts because it’s fun.”

No, you got enjoyment from achieving the goals that came with said actions.  Like when you were able to park yourself in Shattrath and show off your new drake.  Or like when the raid leader calls out your name on Vent before the first pull of the night and thanks you for contributing so much to the raid.  Those things feel good.  You weren’t having fun at the time, but you sure were having a lot of fun after the fact.

I guess that’s my point.  People tanked because they loved to tank.  Others heal because that’s what they love to do.  It’s what they were meant to do.  Fun is certainly a part of it, but it’s not why people usually step up to the plate.  It was never about that, at least until recently.

Fun has become the sole motivation for people to place themselves in various situations and if they don’t have as much fun as they feel they deserve or that they were anticipating, they won’t do that certain something anymore.  Fun has become an excuse to ostracize people that you don’t like running with, because they are either having more fun than you or not enough fun as you are.

Nothing made me more sad than seeing talk of the transmogrifying service dominate my Twitter feed and recent blog posts by those I follow closely.  Here we had all of these other developments to discuss, though some were not nearly as fleshed out as this one, and all people could talk about was which classic instances they were going to farm for which particular gear set.  I think people chose to focus on this change, rather than the others (i.e. the last raid of the expansion, the Deathwing encounter) because it’s fun.  Or at least what the mass majority would consider fun.

How did we get here?  How did we get to a point where we place so much emphasis on fun that we have let it blot out hard work and looking forward to a challenge?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that we outlaw fun altogether.  I just feel that if we were to create a hierarchy of priorities, in terms of what drives us to do things in the game and what drives the developers to do things, that fun should not be nearly as high on the list as it is right now.  It should still have a place, just not as prevalent of one as it does currently and as it seems that it will continue to have.

I like having something to work for and to work towards.  I was raised with the notion that if I want something in this life that I have to go after it and take it for myself, that I have to make it happen.  Nothing should be given to you.  Nobody owes you that.  Some people may not find this to be fun, but I do.  I just wish others felt the same way.  Maybe the game would be in a different place if everyone took a step back and really thought about the motivations for why they do what they do and how realistic their expectations concerning fun really are.

I think that would be fun.


36 Responses to “Fun”

  1. Jadissa August 23, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    Unfortunately, I think we’re going to see more and more changes like this in the next six months. I think that the subscriber losses WoW incurred, despite them being relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, are enough for them to have decided the Cataclysm model of actually trying to throw a bit of challenge into things is not one that is viable for their business.

    I believe that the community reacted very poorly to the reintroduction of complexity – that the community is much more willing to tolerate the game being “dumbed down” than made more challenging, simply because it might mean that someone else can do something that you cannot.

    Since the launch of Cataclysm, we’ve watched them systemically nerf raid bosses which seemed fine at release. We’ve watched them tone heroics down drastically – what happened to them wanting them to not be AoE fests? We’ve watched Archaeology be abandoned rather than added to with each patch because much of the populace didn’t express joy over the grinding aspect.

    It’s good business sense for them to make this game shock your pleasure center as rapidly as it can, over and over, to keep you hooked. Perhaps this is me being too cynical, but there it is – WoW tried to go back to a Vanilla/BC model where there was some inherent challenge in things that you did rather than blasting a heroic in 15 minutes a la Wrath, and the community rejected it.

    I miss achieving something in the game and feeling proud that I’d done so.

  2. Zaralynda August 23, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    I’m sorry… this whole blog post has left me with a great big WUT expression on my face.

    When I turn on my computer (or console, or handheld, or phone nowadays) for a game, I’m looking for fun. If I want hard work without fun, there are other ways that I’ll spend my time, things that are actually productive and have a lasting reward for my hard work.

    Can a game be challenging and still fun? I certainly think so, but I also think that Cataclysm started off extra challenging so giving the playerbase a way to “let our hair down” and relax is not a bad idea, especially with a short raid tier, grindy casual content (MF dailies are SUPER grindy, IMO) and several months until the next patch.

    You are certainly entitled to find your fun wherever you want, but I do NOT want you feeling “sad” for me for finding my fun another way. Get off your high horse and mind your own business.

    • Oestrus August 23, 2011 at 8:56 am #

      There’s a difference between “work” and “hard work.” I’m certainly not implying that you should be breaking into a sweat and your fingers should be shaking and you start breathing erratically when you do something in the game. But we’re approaching a point where there is no effort anymore. There is no motivation, no drive.

      Just today, there are tidbits from an interview on MMO-Champion where someone said they have to show people how to get past the first 30 minutes of the game, because new players found it too hard. Have you leveled a new character in Cataclysm? The starting zones are quite simple, as is. They were already reduced in difficulty to accomodate new players and to make leveling easier. We’re starting to reach a really slippery slope here, Zara.

      • Zaralynda August 23, 2011 at 9:09 am #

        Perhaps YOU don’t have any motivation or drive. Please stop speaking for others who are still finding ways to enjoy the game.

        My experience or your experience leveling a new character in Cata has nothing to do with what a new player would experience. MMO concepts are not straightforward to someone who has never seen them before.

        I still VIVIDLY remember having to have my husband do almost all of the vehicle quests for me the first time I played through Northrend because I just could not wrap my head around the concepts involved (and I was nearly in tears because I was convinced that I would never figure it out or be able to progress. Tears). Watching him and talking about it meant that on my next alt, I was able to do it. The new vehicle quests walk through things a lot simpler, and I hope that saves at least one person the misery that I experienced the first time I went through vehicle quests.

        Concepts that are quite obvious to me now took me awhile to figure out when I first started playing. My husband (being an experienced EQ player) took one character and focused on it, with the goal of catching up to our RL friends who were raiding MC. I played 5-6 alts and then got frustrated that he was so far ahead of me. It’s obvious now WHY he was far ahead, but it took me several weeks to figure that out.

        I don’t mind giving extra help to the first 5 levels of the game. While decisions like “should I gear for haste or crit?” are interesting and fun decisions, dieing to a mob at level 2 fifteen times until I figure out that I should be hitting them with my sword is not interesting.

        • Oestrus August 23, 2011 at 9:34 am #

          Dieing to a mob at level 2 fifteen times until I figure out that I should be hitting them with my sword is not interesting.


          What would you like to have happen? Should the mob just run into you and scream “Hit Me! Press Auto-Attack?” Part of making a new character is learning what to do with it, learning how to survive in the new environment that you have found yourself in. Again, I’m not saying that total exertion is the way to go. But effort is not the enemy. At what point are you even doing things for yourself? Do you want the game to do everything for you? What are you getting out of the experience, if you do that?

          Do you see where this is going?

          (I don’t mean YOU, as in Zaralynda. I mean YOU in the general sense)

          • Zaralynda August 23, 2011 at 9:40 am #

            I had an experienced MMO player looking over my shoulder to say “mm, maybe you should hit that mob with your sword” but that should not be necessary! I don’t think it’s out of line to have a tooltip pop up, or to have it as part of your quest text, or something. Some races already have a quest where you have to use an ability on a target dummy, so I think putting that in all of the starter zones is a good idea.

            Your example of the mob screaming instructions is hyperbole and is not part of a constructive discussion. I really don’t see the point of continuing here.

          • Oestrus August 23, 2011 at 9:48 am #

            I had an experienced MMO player looking over my shoulder to say “mm, maybe you should hit that mob with your sword” but that should not be necessary!

            It isn’t necessary. You had an instruction manual, a website that contains general information and FAQ for how to play the game, and that’s just for starters.

          • Tomaj August 24, 2011 at 4:57 am #

            I don’t think it’s out of line to have a tooltip pop up, or to have it as part of your quest text, or something.

            Perhaps you’re playing devil’s advocate here. Let me set something straight for the record, though:

            Your very first quest will usually say, “Go kill such and such mobs in x amount.” Or some variation thereof.

            Your character will ALWAYS have at least one or two abilities on the action bar from the get-go. I’ve always been one to start a new character on the PTRs in order to give what I think might be constructive feedback for newer players, rather than spend all my time previewing content (I do some of that, too, though). However, there is a point where it becomes hand-holding in order for the initial newbie tooltip to say, “In order to kill enemies, you need to use your abilities x, y and z” and give a detailed explanation of how each ability functions. As far as I know, the beginner tooltips also include something fairly general in order to give this information anyway.

            Even so, it’s not difficult to mouseover a spell and look at the tooltip. I know when I first started (not being an MMO player at the time), my first thought was, “What does this button do?” I also had the “luxury” of playing back in BC when I first started, so there definitely weren’t beginner alerts to the degree there are now. I am sorry if you might disagree with what I have to say here, but honestly – the way things are, without actually doing it for the players, it’s not going to get any easier.

  3. Saga August 23, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    I have to admit, to me the threat change has nothing to do with fun, and them tailoring it as such just feels wrong. I’m actually quite happy about the change, but not because it’s “fun”, but because it wasn’t a mechanic that was working all that well anyway.

    The changes in raids are minimal at best. I don’t really notice any difference because no one was peeling off the tank in raids anyway.

    In Heroics is the place where I notice the change and actually enjoy it. I sometimes tank on my alt Paladin because we have too many healers wanting to do HCs, and since her tanking gear is never as good as her healing gear or the dps gear of those she runs with – they would almost always pull off her on trash packs. It was frustrating. And annoying. And many other things. Yes, the dps could have waited 3 seconds with attacking, but even then if they were very well geared they’d pull off eventually. Never on bosses though fortunately, but maintaining aoe threat against heavy aoe classes was horrible.

    After the changes, they can still pull off me if they’re overdoing it, but it’s much less of an issue and running with my Paladin as tank is much more enjoyable. Playing in general is fun to me, tanking is just one way of playing. If I didn’t find the game “fun” – I’d not be playing it in the first place.

    I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this, because I don’t see the threat change as a way to dumb down or simplify the game. There’s a lot more to tanking than threat, and I much rather focus on those things than thret. That said, you can’t ignore threat, if I wasn’t working on building it those geared players would still pull off me.

    So for me, this is one change I’m quite happy with. However, as said before.. I don’t think “fun” is necessarily the word I’d have used (and not 15 times!), but more.. less frustrating.

    • Oestrus August 23, 2011 at 8:53 am #

      Hi Saga,

      The reasons you’re stating for making the changes to threat and tanking make perfect sense. That’s fantastic! GC did briefly touch on that in the blue post, but he supported the decision with a lot more talk about fun and enjoyment. It was worded in such a way as to make it sound like it was done for fun’s sake and it just happens to be more convenient, too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a post come down the tubes from the developers like that before, where fun was highlighted so often in the explanation for a future change. It really rubbed me the wrong way and seems to steer the game towards more of an “auto-pilot” situation.

      • Saga August 23, 2011 at 9:06 am #

        I agree with you on the GC post, it feels like he’s trying too hard and making it too much about the “fun” – when really (in my opinion) it’s just a small change to help out us undergeared tanks in HCs against those big, bad dpsers.

        Fortunately there’s a lot more to tanking these days than holding threat (and still not saying threat is a non-issue now) since a lot of fights have you moving about, taunt swapping.. doing this and that.

        A tank in my alt’s guild was complaining loudly about the change (which I find ironic because he – quite honestly – isn’t even that good a tank in the first place) and how tanks had nothing to do now. He also compared the threat % between vanilla and now. I think vanilla tanks had like 130% threat and dps 100% and now tanks have 500%.

        Yes, sure.. that sounds like a huge change.. and it is. But he seems to forget that in vanilla holding threat was pretty much all you had to do as a tank. There weren’t really any difficult strategies to tanking bosses back then. The biggest problem you had was threat (heck, remember the 5 sunders rule? hehe)

        Nowadays.. There’s so much else. And I can’t help but think that if you’re a tank and you think you have nothing to do after the threat changes.. then you’re doing it wrong!

        (An example on the tank in question.. he “could not see” the worms on Alysrazor.. I mean.. really? They’re not tiny, and even if you don’t see them, surely the big spouting flame coming out of their mouths would be a dead give-away?)

        Sorry, I went off on a tangent there 😛

        In short, I can see how the post from GC rubs you wrong – I think the changes could have been explained a lot better, with about 14-15 times less using the word “fun” 😉

        • Oestrus August 23, 2011 at 9:27 am #

          Right. That’s the issue that I’m having with his post. He could have just as easily sold the changes as is, to a large number of people based on that it simply wasn’t working. Instead, he chose to go in the direction of “Fun! Fun. Did I forget to mention FUN?!”

          How do you NOT see the worms on Alysrazor? I laughed out LOUD at this one!

          • Saga August 23, 2011 at 11:07 am #

            Trust me, as the healer who was healing him in that fight I was banging my head against my desk at this point.

            When he eventually DOES find the worms (and yes I also don’t understand how he can’t see them!) he likes to run to them and take their fire breath (god forbid you go in from the side where they’re not currently aiming) – oh and he likes to hit a couple of fire patches along the way. Just for good measure.

            Now, that’s not tanks in general though.. most of them do all the multi-tasking without issues. I think my general point was just that there’s more to tanking than threat – and how silly it was for this person in question to worry about it being “gone” since quite honestly.. threat is the last thing he needs to look at in a fight 😛

    • Cynwise August 24, 2011 at 8:44 pm #


      I quite agree with you. Threat as a mechanic wasn’t working well, and I’m not going to shed tears at its going. When it was a primary mechanic of fights, perhaps it was more interesting, but in general I looked at it as a hassle more than a challenge, both as deeps and as a tank. (Yes, I played threat games with my tanks in ICC. I’ve not pulled off one once in Cata, though.)

      I think GC talked about fun all the time because he couldn’t come right out and say, we think threat makes tanking LDF pugs too much of a hassle, it’s too boring when done with players who pay attention, and trying to balance classes with and without threat dumps is wasted effort.

      So instead he talked about fun. *shrug*


  4. lissanna August 23, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    To shorten queue times on the 5-man dungeons, you have to convince tanks to go do them. Tanks don’t want to do them if they aren’t fun,or they just respec DPS so they don’t have that responsibility. So, convince the community that tanking is fun may help increase the number of tanks running 5-man PUGs. The developers can’t convince people to do things just because they’re somehow obligated to do them. They want the game to be enjoyable and want the 5-mans to not have 45 minute queue times for the DPS. So, there are important psychological motivations for adding the word “fun” into a tanking thread 15 times – and that motivation is getting people to associate the word “tanking” with the word “fun” so that people will start filling those roles in the dungeon queue.

  5. Syl August 24, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    “How did we get to a point where we place so much emphasis on fun that we have let it blot out hard work and looking forward to a challenge”

    Why are challenge and fun opposed to one another?
    Hmmm…..I might have misread you here Oestrus, but it actually sounds as if you are promoting that MMOs are not about having fun. “I think” I know what you really mean to say, but you made it sound a little odd there in a bootcampy kind of way. 😉

    Many players, the majority really, would disagree with you: fun is the whole point of playing games and spending so much time on a pastime. why shouldn’t you ask for this? if the game feels like “work” to you, I’d personally feel something is amiss. work is a very problematic way to word it maybe – people are not looking for more work in online games, they’re looking for some time OFF work. I feel that goes without saying?

    Now, I assume you meant to talk about how long-term investment and late gratification should have their place – and I fully agree with that. There is an issue of balance currently in WoW, between effort vs. reward which ultimately define “challenge”. It’s become a fast-food drive-thru game in many ways. but that’s not because fun is wrong – it’s because Blizzard defines fun the wrong way imo. challenge and fun go hand in hand for me, to remove the first is to remove the second. but how do you define challenge for everybody?
    And to be fair, there’s a lot to be said against the boring grinds and meaningless timesinks that Blizzard installed in WoW. I do not associate those with challenge and not with fun either. I never felt challenged nor rewarded for farming dailies for weeks and weeks. it’s not meaningful content and I can understand people complaining about the fun factor. who wants to spend 95% of the time on no-fun, for 5% of fun later on? how is the ‘end product’ more important than the whole journey – we’re paying for time, right? else I expect Blizzard to go FTP already and install an item shop where I only pay for results.

    I think it’s important to watch terminology here and how factors relate. I absolutely want fun. As for my WoW priest, I choose her because healing was fun to me. so was guild leading, raiding and many other things I used to do. there’s different types of ‘fun’ and ideally there’s room for all of them in an MMO. this is where I turn to developers, not the player base though.

    • Oestrus August 24, 2011 at 7:49 am #

      It’s become a fast-food drive-thru game in many ways. but that’s not because fun is wrong – it’s because Blizzard defines fun the wrong way imo.

      This is an excellent point, Syl.

      I guess what I was trying to say is that there aren’t many games out now that are especially mindless and I don’t think that they should be. Even when I played Magic the Gathering, I was spending my time not playing the game researching deck ideas, re-organizing my binders or boxes of cards. There was always something to do, other than playing the actual game. I was reading up on what expansions were coming out (because Wizards of the Coast churns them out pretty fast) and what new mechanics were being added to the cards.

      Same goes with sports. You can’t just go onto a soccer field and start kicking the ball around, towards whichever goal you want to because it sounds fun. No, you have to learn the rules and the strategies and things like that. That takes time and effort, which could be seen as work. I would argue that every game has to have some amount of work that needs to be put into it, in order to really enjoy it fully. Sadly, I don’t feel that’s something that most of the WoW player base wants right now. They want easy, they want effortless. I feel that “I’m not having any fun” has become a translation for “I don’t want to have to work that hard” and the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Fun gets used as a catch-all phrase for why people do and do not want to do things.

      I’m glad you stopped by and that you could sort out what I meant and what I was feeling about this. Thanks for the comment!

      • Syl August 24, 2011 at 9:23 am #

        No problem, now I can follow you a lot better already. what it’s all coming down to is the issue of fun vs. efficiency in today’s games and a whole world of definition pain from there. agreeing on a definition for challenge or fun, meaningful choices, balance…can probably only ever be achieved by a very limited group of players. if the majority out there truly feels that things are great in today’s WoW and lots of fun, well then we might indeed just be a dying breed (which I lament often enough on my own blog). for now, I’d like to stick to my theory that people cannot miss what they don’t know and that somebody needs to show them once more. this is not even so unlikely considering that we’ll probably see a lot more niche and specialty MMOs again in the future.

        I would also like to point out a great article by Psychochild on this subject, in case you’ve never read it –

        • Oestrus August 24, 2011 at 9:43 am #

          I will certainly have to check that out! I admit that his is one of those blogs that I find kind of intimidating, but I’ll definitely give it a read.

          Thanks for the suggestion.

  6. Nils August 24, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    I agree. Fun is something that cannot be reached directly, only indirectly. It’s like happiness. The most happy people are not the ones who think about happiness the most; quite the contrary.

    I wrote about that just a few minutes ago

    • Oestrus August 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm #


      I can’t even say anything in response to that. I have actually followed you for some time and nothing I could say in response to your comment would sound nearly as intelligent or well-spoken, so I will just Unscreen this and squeal quietly at the fact that you have taken the time to not only visit my blog, but to leave a comment. I’ll try to contain myself, but I make no promises!

      I’ll be sure to read the two posts that you have just posted on your page and that you have suggested that I read.

      Thanks for stopping by and for adding me to your blogroll, too!

  7. Eccetrica August 24, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    Grats on the MMO Melting Pot love O. You make some very good points here.

    • Eccentrica August 24, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

      Grr at lack of edit button. Imagine misspelling your own name 😦

      • Oestrus August 24, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

        Psssh. Have you seen my name? Even I mispronounce it sometimes!

    • Oestrus August 24, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

      You as well, Eccentrica!

      I took a look at your post and I love the fact that you’re motivating people to do something they often times forget to do. Far too often, I see people putting themselves second or even third and it’s nice to see someone advocating that people take a moment to be a little selfish sometimes. Ask yourself what you want and how you feel about something. That’s something more people could stand to do and hopefully your post encourages them to do that.

      Thanks for stopping by.


  8. Cynwise August 24, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    Let me tell you a story of two birthday parties my son has gone to in the last few months.

    One of them was at Chuck E. Cheese’s. This place is a parent’s nightmare, but the kids are completely open mouthed in wonder at all the flashing lights and THINGS OMG THE THINGS. There is so much stimulation, all the time, that the kids are like, THIS IS AMAZING OMG OMG OMG.

    They go and play games, dozens and dozens of games.

    Then they sit down to have pizza. Then the show starts and they get up and people come out and the big mouse comes out and there’s singing and dancing and more things to look at.

    Then they go and play more games. It’s a constant assault on the senses.

    The kids stumble out of that place, hours later, with this shocked look on their face. My daughter’s eyes were completely glazed over; she just couldn’t process any more and fell asleep on the way home. Heck, *I* could barely process that place.

    I asked my son the next week what he liked best about the party. He couldn’t remember very much about it at all.

    Different party, this one at the local rec center. They have inflatable bouncy things to horse around on, laser tag, a soccer court, things like that. It was a pretty normal party. My son freaked out when they went in to laser tag, so he stayed in the bouncy section with a few other kids. They had a blast. Just playing.

    My daughter toddled off and found a soccer ball. She proceeded to play soccer with me on an indoor court for about an hour, in fits and spurts. We then regrouped with folks for pizza and cake, which was a little chaotic but when you put a dozen kindergardeners in a room, that’s bound to happen.

    Afterwards, my kids found a lego table and played there for a while. They looked tired, but happy. They were mentally present. It wasn’t OMG SHINY SHINY FUN FUN FUN; it was simple fun.

    I bring up all of this to make two points.

    1) When someone starts talking about fun, I start wondering what kind of fun we’re talking about. Fun is subjective. I find all sorts of odd little challenges fun in Warcraft. I didn’t find threat fun… but I didn’t find it unfun, either. I find tanking to be fun, and threat was part of that, so I dealt with it. It never entered into my mind to say, hey, let me evaluate this with my funmeter. When people try to optimize for fun, to make every little part of something fun, it’s an assault on the senses. Fun should have peaks and valleys; if it’s constant, it’s not memorable. I play for the memorable moments, and put up with the unfun parts to get there. That’s fine.

    We may not see eye to eye on whether or not the endgame grinds are fun, O. I don’t think they make me an inherently better person to do them over and over again. I like accomplishing things and having them *stay* accomplished – running in place on a treadmill is not what I like to do.

    But I absolutely agree that when someone starts telling me TRUST ME THIS IS GOING TO BE FUN I wonder WTF they are trying to sell me, because fun things don’t need to be pimped. All those arcade games? They were pretty crappy. The place just screamed THIS IS FUN THIS IS FUN THIS IS FUN and the kids don’t know any better. This threat change feels the same way. Why are we even talking about fun, this is threat! Threat is boring. You don’t like it, fine, ditch it and let’s move on.

    2) I really, really hate parties at Chuck E. Cheese.

    Interesting post, O.

  9. Tomaj August 25, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    I finally wrote a note on my guild forums about quitting WoW. Inevitably, the threat issue came up, as it has become more or less the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. But not because it’s about managing threat. It’s about the cooldowns.

    We all know about the arms race for healer cooldowns. Now this is going to get extended to tanks, with the “removal” of threat. Aside from healing, tanking was one of the things I enjoyed most in WoW. Threat was one of those challenges that I, personally, found fun. As Cynwise up there said, and as many will reiterate, fun is subjective. I find the challenge fun. I find the threat game fun (if wonky in the current/previous/whatever-it-is iteration).

    I do not find the cooldown game even remotely interesting, much less fun.

    I hate that they're going to put so much emphasis on tank survival. So not only do healers have to race for raidwalls, tanks get to race to see who can save their own asses the best. *coughdeathknighscough* It's like a step back to Tier 7. How absurd is that?

    • Tomaj August 25, 2011 at 10:47 am #

      Also, can you fix my fail HTML tagging? 🙂

      • Oestrus August 25, 2011 at 11:14 am #


  10. Spinks August 26, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    Lissanna: I’m sure you are right, and they’re trying to run some PR to convince people that tanking in PUGs is fun.

    You can compare the threat mechanic for tanks with the mana regen/ MP5 mechanic for healers. It goes in and out of vogue but the idea of balancing threat generation with mitigation has been really core to the whole tank identity — it’s the main thing that tanks had to do that no other role does. Similarly, balancing healing people with not running out of mana is the main thing that healers have to do which is different from the other roles. It’s been more or less of a deal in various expansions, depending on whether Blizzard thinks watching your mana is fun or not at the moment and whether they favour dps races over long fights that hinge on how much endurance your healers have.

    So saying threat will be easy is comparable to back in Wrath when mana regen wasn’t an issue for geared healers. Some people will find it more fun, others will feel that something really important to their role identity has gone. And Blizzard might still change things around in a future patch/ expansion if they decide it should matter again.

    My best guess as to what will happen is that undergeared newbie tanks will feel confident to manage large pulls, and will pull more than the healer can handle. I’ve seen this in lower level instances already. I don’t really expect to have to keep saying to tanks, “Dude, did you really have to pull the whole room? You’re not an overgeared/ higher level character, you know.” Blizzard will respond to this by either making healing easier or by giving tanks tons of free extra mitigation too.

  11. Inno August 26, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    I read GC’s use of fun in a sarcastic manner. Reread his comments in a different tone and it may come across in an entirely different light.  With the influx of new players we can’t expect things to be how they used to be. I can’t imagine the new player base waiting until there are five stacks of sunder before attacking nor can I reasonably expect pug members to throttle their damage/threat to ensure they allow the tank to keep threat. Those days are gone and I guess I could rage over it and quit the game or I can find other fun things to do and reminisce via blogs/gchat/ vent. I choose the latter.  I’m sorta sad that the blogs that I read seem to be a minority in the wow gaming community and I wonder how much weight blizzard gives us in their decision making process. 

    • Oestrus August 26, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

      Hey there Inno,

      I agree with you, in that if you read Ghostcrawler’s post in a different tone that it would come across a bit different. You could say the same for anything that you read on the Internet, really.

      Regarding the influx of new players, why shouldn’t they be held to the standard as other people? It would be like if you wanted to try your hand at volleyball or some other kind of sport. You wouldn’t be allowed to walk on the court and say “I’m new! I’m just going to hit this ball where I want to now.” No. You would be expected to learn the rules and follow them, just like everyone else. I realize that I keep going back to the sports analogy, but that’s because I feel it holds true to what we’re discussing here in a lot of ways.

      Or if you were playing Monopoly or Risk for the first time. There is still a basic framework surrounding any game that you are expected to go along with, regardless of how new you are to the setting. That doesn’t change and it shouldn’t.

      I feel the same kind of applies here.

  12. Inno August 27, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    Thanks for the reply. I agree with you about tone. It can also be situational dependent on your own mood/viewpoints. I still read the fun comments as sarcastic based on the previous post about heroics being hard. I envision a dedicated developer caving into corporate pressure.  If there are more people wanting it to be harder and un-fun and they outweigh the people that say it’s too hard then we can have the game back the way that we want it. If the influx of new people outweigh the presence of the old then their money and the way they want to play a quick easy game must outweigh the diehards who want it to maintain a higher level of difficulty. In my opinion the people that want the quick fun are probably going to run off when a new shiny gets their attention and you’ll have disgruntled players stopping by a certain inn to hang up their hats while remembering the comforts they once shared as they walk of into the distance never to return. Kind of a lose-lose proposition. 

    I have a difficult time agreeing with analogies between a video-game and sports/board games. In board games it’s very common practice to use house rules. It’s also commonplace to use street rules for sport pugs which allow people to play their own way. Do people actually read up on baseball or football prior to playing the game? I know I never did. It was more of a learn as you go and if you were unable to keep up you didn’t play. There’s not really a player based way to not play with the “bad” players unless you consider a guild based group. 

    Back to the fun threat baed mechanics…If you are playing with a guild based group is it any easier on the good guild tanks to keep threat? Are they any less capable of playing now that the developers have introduced helmets and shoulder pads for safety (American football)?  I don’t know the right answer (for me) and the more I dwell on it the more frustrating it becomes.  What I can say is that tricksing a tank and hitting feint don’t bother me in the least. I usually end up giving a tank a very substantial threat boost as it is. But now they’ve decided that the game would become more fun for everyone due to the change in threat mechanics. I guess it is more fun for the hunters since I can safely throw tricks on them now.  Maybe I’ll challenge the tanks now by tricksing the healer and seeing how well the new mechanic really works.  

    • Oestrus August 29, 2011 at 8:07 am #

      Hi Inno,

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. My birthday was this previous weekend and it ended up being quite action packed! Thank you for your patience.


      I still feel like my analogies between video games and sports games hold true. While there are parts of the rules that you can change or ease up on, depending on how you feel like it, there are still basic concepts that don’t change. For example, when you’re playing pool, you still use the cue ball to assist you with getting the other balls into the pockets. That typically doesn’t change. The 8 ball is still usually going to lead to a loss, if you get it in before all of your other balls are in.

      The same goes with football. You still run in the opposite direction and you don’t kick the ball into the opposing team’s side of the field. Those are basic tenets that don’t change, regardless of how casual you feel like being. I would argue the same goes with a game like this. There are certain concepts that shouldn’t be relaxed, because of how new you feel that you are or otherwise. You still have to let a tank get aggro. You still have to heal people. You still have to DPS the right target. To me, those are concepts that should be non-negotiable. You said it perfectly, “If you were unable to keep up, you didn’t play.” Bingo.


  1. Fun vs Fun - August 24, 2011

    […] that simple? Oestrus Stories of O has been thinking a bit about GC’s recent speechmaking, and she’s not at all convinced: “At the same time, not everything in life is meant to be fun. You don’t decide that you […]

  2. Curiosity caused the cat to throw up in a dumpster. « The Noisy Rogue - August 25, 2011

    […] few posts on the topic of fun around the blogosphere in the last few days, mainly over at Nils and O. I thought that I would add my own comments to this topic seeing as my pronouncements are of such […]

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